- Reviewed by: Scott Burkett
- Print Length: 259 pages
- Publisher: Wilde City Press (April 13, 2014)
- Book Provided by: Publisher
- Posting: M/M Book Review, Romance, Comedy, Novel
- Author: David Pratt
- Posting Date: June 20, 2014
When I finished reading Looking After Joey, I really didn’t know what to say about it. I had to sit back and analyze the book in my head for awhile because this book is different This is a very different book it doesn’t follow the same outlines as you would expect a book in gay romance and that is what made it so unique.
What happens when a Porn character suddenly appears in your living room? This was so funny, poor Calvin had to explain everything to Joey, well almost everything. If Joey had experienced something on the set of a movie that he understood. Everything else, not so much. The book takes us from Manhattan to the Hamptons and then out to Fire Island. David Pratt has given us a very colorful supporting cast that lend their hand in bringing this book to life. This book is about “Fitting In” and in this context I mean how the characters were represented in the hierarchy of the Gay community in this story setting. Sex plays a small part in the story and that is mostly found in the beginning of the book, the rest of the book carries on the story and it is told exceptionally well.
I’d love to tell you about the parties, the food and the men but if I start dissecting the story it will take away from the Brilliance of it, so I’m just going to leave it at this and say:
If you appreciate a book that is well written, researched, comical and full of life, then this is the book for you.
“Read Looking After Joey with the expectation of laughing throughout, but there’s more to it than that. The social commentary is razor sharp, and the ultimate destination is surprisingly moving.” – ‘Nathan Burgoine, Out in Print
From the author of Bob the Book — a funny, fast-paced, touching tale of love, laughter, family of choice and fabulousness!
Wouldn’t it be great if a porn character stepped out of the TV, into your life? Well, be careful what you wish for, because that’s how Calvin and Peachy end up looking after Joey. And teaching him everything he needs to know to be be a gay man in New York City. The big test? A fabulous party on Fire Island. But first, they have to get invited. This will involve a rogues’ gallery of gay Manhattanites, including portly, perspiring publicist Bunce van den Troell; theatrical investor Sir Desmond Norma; priapic publisher Stuart Bergman; and lubricant king Fred Pflester. Tender, witty and utterly deranged, Looking After Joey will make you wish that you, too, had a porn character at your kitchen table asking, “So, when can I have sex?”
What was your inspiration for this?
Years ago I wrote a short story, “Calvin Gets Sucked In,”about a gay man who ends up inside a porn video, pursuing his romantic obsession, Joey. Jameson Currier at Chelsea Station Editions chose “Calvin” for my short story collection, “My Movie,” in 2012. I thought there should be a sequel, about Joey coming into this world. Then I thought, That’s not a story; that’s a novel! And it would have to be a comedy. In original the story, Calvin’s experience in the video is more disturbing, and the ending is melancholy. I kept some incidents from the story, but now, as chapter one of the novel, the original story had to serve something larger. I remade it with a different tone and thrust. Adaptation fascinates me. How something must transform. How artful yet how practical you have to be.
Joey is quite crazy and funny. It seems like you must have had a good time creating all those situations and characters.
I love my characters! I love reading them aloud. Calvin is like me, so of course I love him. Peachy is kind of like my partner, so I love him, too. Joey is so sweet and giving and trusting, and Doug so decent and sure of himself, even in the presence of all the hip urban gay men, who he’s nothing like. I also love the “glitter characters.” Sir Desmond may be obsessed with “lads,” but by God he gets what he wants. Stuart may be loud and lecherous, but he’s wonderfully guileless and uninhibited, and he’s a decent man, planting trees in Israel and publishing Jeffrey’s and Melinda’s book. I do disapprove of Bunce, taking his insecurity and self-loathing out on others, but I also sympathize with him. I understand and sympathize with Fred, even though I don’t approve of how he once treated Calvin. I even sympathize with Jürgen, the only real villain in the book.
Are any of those characters based on people you know?
Other than Calvin being like me, no. I do know men, gay and straight, who are like Doug: not hip, not ripped or gorgeous, just decent and kind, and sexy because of that. Intelligence and character are the sexiest things there are. All my main characters have those two things in one form or another. Peachy—my God, the loyalty, the willingness to do anything for someone he cares about. I do think it’s important to portray gay men with character. My generation of gay men was not allowed to have character. Gayness itself was moral flaw number one. Plus, we were liars. The lies and the hiding were later seen as understandable, but when we were very young, all we knew was, we were hiding something and telling lies, and lies were bad. So, at least to ourselves, we could never be one of those “fine young men,” no matter how many A’s we got or how well we sang in the spring musical.
“Joey” is a comedy, but some if it is very touching, even heartbreaking.
One scene, the good-bye to at the train station, so broke my heart that, when I did rewrites, I couldn’t read it word-for-word. If there are typos, that’s where they are! The second part of the book does deal with loss. “Looking after” has a double meaning: caring for someone, but also watching them leave for a life of their own. One reader told me he laughed through the first three parts, then cried at parts four and five. Part six, I assume, he laughed and cried. The line from Steel Magnolias “Laughter-through-tears is my favorite emotion”—applies to a lot of the second half of “Joey.”
You make fun of a lot of contemporary culture – gay, straight and everything in between.
I tell people that my one marketable skill is mockery. I go to town on anything that is pretentious or fatuous. I had a lot of fun making up Wocka-Wocka, the fictitious jukebox musical they go see…
…with it’s big hit, “Let’s All Have More Muesli”… …which you can hear on the soundtrack of the book video (https://vimeo.com/91786797). I asked my friend Chris Olsen of Conceptual Rhythm if he would create an instrumental soundtrack. He read the manuscript and wanted to do “Let’s All Have More Muesli.” The singers belong to the Long Island folk band Pandafan. Look them up online. They are just fabulous.
Author David Pratt is giving away an eBook of Looking After Joey.
It is really easy to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment in the Comments Section of this post.
This Giveaway ends at 1201am on June 25, 2014
(Only one entry per person and you must be at least 18 years of age. Void where prohibited)